A lot of things have been going down either in the circles I occupy in my tiny slice of the internet or the things I like to keep an eye on. Some of the things directly impact me and others don’t (other than the fact that I’m aware of them and it makes me sad).
And when I say “things have been going down,” I mean, “People can be really, really cruel.”
I have a philosophy: Be kind. Period.
Sure, some people deserve vindictiveness. Some people could use a nice, healthy dose of their own medicine. But that doesn’t mean we need to be the ones to dole it out. But this also goes beyond that. It’s not just about not returning hate when someone is being awful to you, it’s about not starting it to begin with.
There are a lot of reasons why I wanted to write this post, but I first decided it needed to be written when I came across a couple of awful articles about one of my favorite artists: Karmin (the singing duo, Amy and Nick).
The first one was in response to Karmin winning the Rolling Stone “Women Who Rock” flip-cover. The author said that they thought Karmin was terrible and that they shouldn’t be on the cover because half of the band was male. (By the way, this was voted on by fans – not a room full of stuffy corporate employees. So obviously the people wanted Karmin on the cover.)
The other article was about their video “Hello,” and how it was the worst song and video they’ve ever heard/seen. (I mean, really? The worst?) They literally broke it down in ten second increments, bashing Karmin on everything from the lyrics and the music, to their clothes and personalities.
Look, I understand not everyone likes them. That’s cool. Diversity is a wonderful thing. But when I don’t like something, I just make sure I don’t involve myself in whatever it is. I don’t spend my precious time tearing down other people because I don’t like what they’re doing. It’s a waste of energy.
(By the way, I’m not linking to the articles. I refuse to give more traffic to hate-filled posts. But if you really want to see them, they’re fairly easy to find via Google.)
Cut to a month or two later (yes, I’ve been sitting on this topic for a while), and we have a series of tweets from Jeff Davis, the showrunner of Teen Wolf. He’s pretty active with his followers on Twitter and was kind enough to give us a little behind-the-scenes information about a show he used to run called Criminal Minds.
Right away, he started getting slammed. “Do you even know what bisexual means?” “He could still like her and like guys too!” “Blah, blah, blah, we hate you. *mean words* *mean words* *mean words*”
Jeff started responding to some of the haters, telling them that he did, indeed, know what being bisexual meant. He also said everyone took his tweet out of context. What had actually happened was that the network didn’t want Reid to be bisexual, and that’s why he made Reid fancy JJ. It wasn’t that he liked this girl and suddenly wasn’t bisexual, it was that he liked this girl BECAUSE he couldn’t be bisexual.
Eventually, Jeff just gave up and tweeted this:
Of course, he was joking. But still. The fact of the matter is that we are all human beings with feelings. This seems to especially be forgotten when it comes to celebrities. They DO actually come across the things that we say about them. And although journalists need to be critical and need to question things (because that’s, like, their job) there’s no need to be vindictive about it.
Yes, the video is meant to be funny, and it is, but think about it for a minute. What if your friend got a tweet or an e-mail or a Facebook message like one of the ones from above. It would be devastating and not funny at all. Celebrities are people and people should never be treated that way, regardless of whether or not they’ve chosen to be in the spotlight.
It’s one thing to have an opinion about someone. It’s an entirely different thing to attack that person with your opinions.
And this isn’t just about how “normal” people treat celebrities. It’s how Average Joe treats Average Jack. Look at the presidential election and how heated things got. I can’t even begin to tell you what my Facebook wall looked like. Family members and friends alike were bashing people who voted for the other guy. They lumped those people all together, calling them “idiots” because they didn’t agree with their opinions.
These are people I’ve known my whole life and suddenly they think, because I voted for someone they didn’t like, that I’m an idiot. Even if they didn’t call me out specifically or even know that’s who I voted for, they lumped me into that group. Ten seconds of impulse and suddenly they’ve indirectly insulted me for something that, let’s face it, isn’t worth getting into an argument over.
This really did happen, and I chose not to say anything back to this person because what good would it have done? More than likely it would’ve just served to hurt our feelings and make both of us angry. It’s just not worth the effort.
This is what I think, and it’s just how I operate. I understand that not everyone is the same way. I don’t judge people for voicing their opinions, and God knows that I’ve done it before too. Nobody’s perfect. I just try to take everything into consideration before I say something I might regret.
Be nice. Don’t assume anything about another person, whether you think you know them or not. Consider what type of day they could’ve been having. Consider what type of life they’ve lived. Consider the possibility that everything was just a misunderstanding. Know that one day, perhaps, that celebrity you tweeted might come across what you said about them. Realize that it might hurt their feelings. Realize that you have the ability to either spew forth hate into the world or kindness.
I know which one I’d choose.
The internet can be a terrible place. We all know this, given the surge in online bullying that we’ve seen recently. The computer screen makes you anonymous. You can be whoever you want to be. And you can say things you wouldn’t dream of saying to someone’s face. But that doesn’t mean you should say those things.
The world would be a much better place if we all just took the time to be decent human beings. There’s no reason to attack one another based on opinions or views or the fact that they hate your favorite movie. It takes a little bit more time, and a little bit more forethought, but being nice is ultimately the best thing you can do for someone else. Not to mention it’s probably the best thing you can do for yourself too.
“If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all” is cliché and overused, but appropriate. I try to live by this, in all honesty, because being mean saps your energy far quicker than being nice does.
I feel like I haven’t done this subject justice, but I’ll end my rant there anyway. It all boils down to something pretty basic in the end: there are very few people in the world that deserve the amount of animosity that people get on a regular basis. We should all strive to treat each other with decency, like any good human being deserves.
I’ll leave you with one of my all-time favorite quotes:
“It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
What do YOU think? If you’re on social media, do you think people have the right to voice their opinions (whether it’s about/to you or about/to celebrities)? Do you find it hard to not say something brash, or are you like me and just enjoy spreading the love?